Thursday will feature an A.L. battle of West versus East as the Los Angeles Angels (4-2) take on the Toronto Blue Jays (3-2). As a result of COVID restrictions preventing Toronto from playing games in their home stadium, they will host this game at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida.
This will be the first game of a four-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 pm ET.
The Angels enjoyed an off day on Wednesday after splitting a two-game series with the Houston Astros. On Tuesday, they lost four to two, but they got a solid outing from starter Dylan Bundy (six innings, two earned runs, ten strikeouts) and a mammoth 464-foot home run by Mike Trout.
Toronto is coming off of back-to-back losses to the Texas Rangers, including a two-to-one loss on Wednesday. Hyun-Jin Ryu suffered the loss despite going seven innings and only giving up two runs. Marcus Semien hit his third home run of the season.
The pitching matchup for Thursday features Griffin Canning making his debut this season for the Angels against the Blue Jays’ Ross Stripling (0-1, 8.10 ERA).
Toronto is the slight favorite in this one as the host. They are -132 to win while the Angels’ moneyline is +112. The runline features Los Angeles +1.5, and the over/under for total runs is 10.
By The Numbers
Offensively, the Angels have been the stronger team early in the season. They currently rank 11th in runs per game at 5.50. The Blue Jays rank 22nd averaging 3.80.
Defensively, it has been the Blue Jays with the edge. They rank 6th in scoring defense allowing just 3.40 runs per game to opponents. Los Angeles ranks 21st, allowing 5.33 runs per game.
Angels Trying To Improve On Solid Start
After taking three of four from the White Sox and splitting with the Astros, the Angels look like they may be legitimate contenders this season. There is no doubt that they have the offense to put up runs, but the real question is if they can get enough pitching.
Taking the mound on Thursday will be Griffin Canning. He was pushed back a bit after warming up to pitch in Sunday’s contest with Chicago. Making his debut for this season last year, he went 2-3 in 11 starts with a 3.99 ERA, 1.367 WHIP, and 56 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched.
Offensively, the team has gotten a nice start out of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Jared Walsh. All three of the Angels are hitting .300 or better, and all have two home runs on the season.
Toronto Hopes For Bounce Back From Stripling
Like the Angels, their ability to contend this season is less about the production from their offense and more about their pitching. While they have pitched well as a staff thus far, Ross Stripling will be looking for a bounce back from his last start.
Against the Yankees in a 5-3 loss, Stripling went 3.1 innings allowing seven hits, three earned runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. Against a solid Angels lineup, he will once again be tested.
Offensively, the team has been led by Marcus Semien (three home runs) and Bo Bichette (two home runs). Unfortunately, their star offseason acquisition, George Springer, has still yet to make his first start and is now headed for an MRI after reaggravating a hamstring injury.
Taking Los Angeles On The Runline
With both offenses having the ability to potent, this comes down to the pitching. While I like Toronto’s bullpen a little better, it is the Angels that have the upper hand with their starting pitching, as Griffin Canning showed signs of brilliance last season.
Regardless, I could see this staying tight, meaning I will take the team to get the advantage on the runline. In this matchup, that means taking the Angels at +1.5.